Canada out of all of Canada’s contributions and
Canada has fought and marched on bravely on the Western battlefields of the Great War. Canadian soldiers along the western frontline in Europe had fought and decisively won in major key battles that eventually led to the Allies victory in Europe. Canadian soldiers had also fought a determined and ruthless enemy in battles such as; The Battle of Vimy Ridge, The Battle of Passchendaele, and the Battle of the Somme. But, out of all of Canada’s contributions and victories in it’s military history, The Battle of Vimy Ridge would prove to be Canada’s proudest moment and the nation’s key victory in Canadian History. “The Battle of Vimy Ridge remains one of the most powerful moments in our military history, a victory for Canada on the world stage, though with much sacrifice. While Canadians mourn the loss of so many lives, we take pride in the valour of those who fought at Vimy Ridge in the name of peace, security, and freedom.” The Honourable Julian Fantino, Minister of Veterans Affairs. The Battle of Vimy Ridge would be detrimental to Canada’s rise to the world stage and history for 3 reasons: The impact it had on Canadian Identity, Canada’s reputation as an effective fighting force, and the immediate effects it had on the War.”Many historians and writers consider the Canadian victory at Vimy a defining moment for Canada, when the country emerged from under the shadow of Britain and felt capable of greatness. The Battle of Vimy Ridge would be the key battle that would leave a national legacy that would affect Canada for decades to come.Canada’s national identity has been greatly affected by the Great War as it has been quoted to be, “A birth of a nation.” The Victory at Vimy Ridge has been greatly praised and Aerole2honored by Canadians and allies alike, and the triumph over Vimy Ridge quickly became a symbol of Canada’s rising nationalism. One of the major reasons Canadians praise the Battle of Vimy Ridge is because four different Canadian divisions, composing of Canadian Soldiers coming from all parts of Canada, fought together as a single unit in the Canadian Corps for the first time had successfully taken the ridge from the battle-hardened German divisions, who had retreated from the Canadians unexpected success. As Brigadier-General Alexander Ross would famously say of the battle: ” . . . in those few minutes I witnessed the birth of a nation.” The Battle of Vimy Ridge would become symbolic to Canada’s overall sacrifice in World War One, especially the estimated 60 000 casualties, heroic sacrifices that convinced Prime Minister Robert Borden to step out of Britain’s shadow and and push for separate representation for Canada in the Paris Peace talks at the end of the war. The major accomplishment in securing a strategically important line was part of the reason why Canadians managed to get a seat and sign documents at the Treaty of Versailles. “…..recognizing that Canada was now able to exercise its own foreign policy decisions separate from Britain, and represented a major shift for the British Empire toward more autonomous member nations in what would soon become the Commonwealth.” The national pride, confidence, and newfound identity sparked by the victory at Vimy Ridge will be forever remembered, as the French had allowed the construction of a limestone Canadian War Memorial atop Hill 145 on Vimy Ridge, inscribed with the names of the 11,285 Canadians soldiers who died in France in the Great War with no known grave.To underscore the sacrifices made by Canada, which suffered 60,000 fatalities during the First Aerole3World War, France granted Canada 107 hectares of land at Vimy to build and maintain a memorial. That iconic site is today considered one of the most stirring of all First World War monuments, and certainly Canada’s most important war memorial. The Triumph at Vimy Ridge had also proved to the world that Canadian Soldiers had every reason quit, but would keep fighting no matter how hard the war had pushed them. Canadian Soldiers, a month prior to the Battle of Vimy Ridge, had rigorously trained in a full-scale replica of the battle area and mock trenches behind front lines for one to two months. When the battle began on April 9, 1917, it was expected that the four Canadian Divisions sent would suffer the same fate as the French and British. But, against all odds the Canadian Divisions had executed their parts on time with the help of British Artillery. As Canadian War Museum historian Tim Cook puts it, there were “countless acts of sacrifice, as Canadians single-handedly charged machine gun nests or forced the surrender of Germans in protective dugouts. Hill 145 … was captured in a frontal bayonet charge against machine-gun positions.” By the end of the Battle of Vimy Ridge Canadian Soldiers had laid the foundations of the reputation of the Canadian Expeditionary Force to be brave, courageous, determined, persistent, and their never give up attitude. “The whole Empire will rejoice at the news of yesterday’s successful operations. Canada will be proud that the taking of the coveted Vimy Ridge has fallen to the lot of her troops. I heartily congratulate you and all who have taken part in this splendid achievement.” – His Majesty the King to Aerole 4Field-Marshall Sir Douglas Haig, April 10, 1917. Canadians succeeded in capturing the ridge when, for over two years, the French and British had failed to take to do so. Four Canadians received the Victoria Cross, which is the highest military award for valour in the British Armed Forces. The Submission of Vimy Ridge by the hands of the Canadian Soldiers who had fought on there had brought significant support and relief on the War. The Battle of Vimy Ridge represented the first time in over two years that the Allies had achieved victory. It gave all the Allied Forces, including Canadian Soldiers, hope. The loss of Vimy Ridge forced the Germans to reassess their defensive strategy in the area. Instead of launching a counteroffensive, they pursued a scorched earth policy, and retreated deeper into German territory, losing a large area to the Allied Forces. The German defeat and Canadian Victory would give the Allied Forces enough confidence, hope, and momentum to force an unconditional surrender from the German Empire at the end of the war. After the Battle of Vimy Ridge soldiers of the Canadian Expeditionary Force would find themselves leading assaults and leading the offensive going deep into the heart of the German Empire. As the war progressed, Canada’s successes in battles like those at Vimy Ridge, France and Passchendaele, Belgium, had earned its army the reputation for being the best-attacking Allied troops on the Western Front. After the Battle of Vimy Ridge the allies would give the Canadians no rest, as Canadian Soldiers would keep the pressure on the German military until their demise. British Prime Minister Lloyd George wrote, “The Canadians Aerole 5played a part of such distinction that thenceforward they were marked out as shock troops; for the remainder of the war they were brought along to head the assault in one great battle after another. Whenever the Germans found the Canadian Corps coming into the line they prepared for the worst.” Canadians would carve the reputation of being an elite assault force of lethal “Shock Troopers,” that would lead the Allied forces to victory. The Triumph over Vimy Ridge would be Canada’s greatest military victory in Canadian History. As countless Canadian Soldiers would sacrifice their lives in a battle that would leave an unexpected legacy for years to come. Canadian soldiers had fought in a place meant for death, but came out alive but changed. The Battle of Vimy Ridge would be Canada’s greatest victory because: The Battle has changed Canadian Identity and increased Nationalism, creating a greater autonomy within Britain, Canadian Soldiers would create an unique reputation, separating themselves from the other countries, and the immediate effects after the Battle, that would lead to an Ally Victory. During the Battle of Vimy Ridge in 1917, Canadians made greater advances, and captured more arms, and more prisoners than any other Allied offensive since the start of the war. The Canadian Expeditionary Force would gain a fierce and lethal reputation, as the Canadian Soldiers would marched on bravely to their inevitable demise on the battlefields of Vimy Ridge facing the battle-hardened German Empire, at the end of the battle, Canadian Soldiers had conquered Hell on Earth.